Lawyer killed over land conflict, half-brod nabbed

A land conflict is being cited as the motive behind the killing of lawyer Eleanor Polancos Dela Peña (left), 54, allegedly by her half-brother on the afternoon of Monday, June 10.
A land conflict is being cited as the motive behind the killing of lawyer Eleanor Polancos Dela Peña (left), 54, allegedly by her half-brother on the afternoon of Monday, June 10.Eleanor Polancos Dela Peña/Facebook (left), PRO-Davao (right)

A LAND conflict is being cited as the motive behind the killing of lawyer Eleanor Polancos Dela Peña, 54, allegedly by her half-brother on the afternoon of Monday, June 10.

The victim, from Chapter 8, Tienda Brgy, Aplaya, Digos City, died on the spot after being shot in the head. 

The suspect immediately fled the scene but was captured a few hours later in a police hot pursuit operation in Digos. He was apprehended on the National Highway in Talas, Sulop, Davao del Sur around 9:40 p.m. the same day.

The suspect was identified as Arnel Galot Dela Peña, 56, the victim’s half-brother, from Purok 3, Talas, Sulop, Davao del Sur. 

According to the police, the suspect was identified based on the statement of the victim's child and CCTV footage near the crime scene. 

Witnesses also described the suspect as wearing a black helmet with the letter "M", a blue hooded jacket, blue pants, and driving a red motorcycle.

Upon searching the suspect, authorities found 10 12-gauge shotgun shells, 27 5.56 mm live rounds, an M16 rifle magazine, a black helmet with the letter "M," a blue Fila-branded hooded jacket, and two cellphones. 

The suspect is now in police custody in Digos and awaits charges.

The National Prosecution Service-Davao Region (NPS-Davao) condemned the heinous incident and remembered the victim's courage and dedication to her work. 

The victim was a former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao City Chapter (IBP-Davao City).

"As we grapple with this senseless loss, let us remember Mommy Ning's bravery, passion, and unwavering resolve in the face of adversity. Her sacrifice serves as a stark reminder of the dangers inherent in the pursuit of justice, yet it also reinforces our collective commitment to upholding the rule of law," NPS-Davao said in a statement. They also promised to investigate Dela Peña's death.

Meanwhile, IBP-Davao City described the killing of the lawyer as a "heinous act of violence," saying the incident shocks the legal community and threatens the foundation of justice that Dela Peña strongly advocated for in her career.

"We cannot allow such acts of violence to intimidate or silence those who are tasked with the critical duty of enforcing the law. In light of this grievous event, we call upon law enforcement agencies to take immediate and decisive action. We demand a thorough and swift investigation to bring the perpetrators of this despicable crime to justice," they added in their statement. They assured that they will seek justice and protection for those who dedicate their lives to the rule of law.

According to a previous SunStar Davao article, the late lawyer, before her legal practice, had served as a professor, an accounting major, and a real estate broker. 

During her stint as IBP-Davao president, she advocated for legal services for the community and prisoners, especially those who could not afford representation. RGL/RGP

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